Posted on May 5, 2022
With almost all his might, 14-year-old A.J. Madison brought his power washer’s roaring engine to life with one rip of its ignition cord.
It was the start of another car-detailing job for the Beverly Hills teen and owner/operator of AJM Enterprises.
“I like doing car detailing the most because I like taking care of people’s cars,” A.J. said about why he founded his mobile business roughly six months ago. “I don’t want them riding in dirty cars so I go and clean them.”
A.J. hoisted his machine sprayer, turned to face the full-sized SUV parked in the driveway, and hosed down the vehicle’s body. He then attached a specialized cleaning agent to his washer’s nozzle, allowing him to simultaneously spray and soak the SUV with a combination of water and soap.
Shawn Nicoleau, owner of All-Star Auto Detailing, called out to A.J. and reminded his speedy protégé to be patient with how much of the vehicle he can wash at a time.
“He’s trying to do it all at once,” Nicoleau said with a laugh. “You gotta do it section by section.”
Starting at the roof, with help from a step stool, and working his way down to the rims, A.J. used a telescopic brush to scrub every inch of the SUV’s frame before he rinsed the suds off, and dried the vehicle with a cloth.
He took as much care cleaning the SUV’s exterior as he did vacuuming and shining its interior.
As he moved from one vehicle part to the next, A.J. made sure he was applying the appropriate chemicals from his batch of tools and equipment he bought with his company’s earnings, budgeting each dollar toward an investment to further his enterprise.
This included a trailer hauling a massive tank to use as a portable water source. A.J.’s next plan is to buy an enclosed trailer to store and transport more gear.
“He puts it right back into his business; he doesn’t blow it on frivolous things,” A.J.’s grandmother, Pamela Rutzebeck, said. “I had no idea this was a pretty expensive business to get started, and he knows exactly what he needs.”
AJM Enterprises offers more than just mobile vehicle detailing. A.J. also power washes, landscapes, organizes garages, hauls and does other odd jobs.
A.J. said he has several regular customers, and took a job to wash the entire vehicle fleet of a Dunnellon-area business.
“This is a great thing for a 14-year-old boy who has lots of energy,” Rutzebeck said, “and a good amount of free time on his hands to channel that energy, and he has a lot of hopes and dreams.”
A.J. said he wants to expand the reputation of AJM Enterprises, with help from positive reviews, to where he has clients keeping him busy everyday.
“I get up, load up my trailer and go,” he said, “and I already know what I’m doing.”
After the seventh grader finishes his daily studies at Lecanto Middle School, where he’s an A-B honor roll student every quarter, A.J. also assists Nicoleau, his mentor, with his job.
“He’s very, very motivated, very outgoing and he’s determined to learn,” Nicoleau said about A.J. “He’s ready, he’s definitely ready; he has that drive, he’s determined.”
A.J. said young and aspiring business owners like himself should “have a good attitude” if they want to launch a profitable career working for themselves.
Rutzebeck said her grandson got his entrepreneurial talents from his grandmother and mother, who both started local businesses.
When she was 14, A.J.’s mom, Briana Harrison, placed an ad in the Chronicle’s classified section as a “motivated teen” who would babysit, house-sit and pet-sit.
“His mom’s a hard worker who’s grown a business in the last seven years,” Rutzebeck said about A.J. “He’s watched that, and he’s seeing what you can do when you apply yourself and work hard.”
“I felt like, ‘man, I needed to get out and make some money,’” A.J. added. “I just felt like I could be a businessman too because we’ll all be a family of businesspeople.”
Harrison said AJM Enterprises has been teaching her son, who has special needs, to learn the financial and life skills he’ll need to become self- sufficient one day.
“They need something to start somewhere to start preparing for their future,” she said. “He needs to figure out now how to make money to survive.”
It’s A.J.’s dream to one day become a dump truck driver, like his father, who owns a local trucking business.
Rutzebeck said she hopes Citrus County’s communities will support their young self-starters like A.J. to strengthen the local workforce.
“Support the teens in our area who are looking to build up businesses and build a future for themselves,” she said. “The ones who can create for themselves should be encouraged to do so.”
“I just know I’m a hard worker,” A.J. said.
Original Post: https://www.chronicleonline.com/news/local/beverly-hills-teen-14-starts-grows-mobile-car-detailing-business-im-a-hard-worker/article_7eb75e0a-7a6f-53a8-ad2b-aecb31df7b69.html
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